Older children are less active than younger children, study suggests

July 19th, 2017

shutterstock_62193448-4856New research has suggested that younger children are more active than older kids. Figures, which have been published by Public Health England, suggest that activity levels fall as children get older.

The proportion of children that exercises on a daily basis falls by almost 40 percent between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. Only 17 percent of children do an hour of exercise per day, as recommended by health experts, by the time they reach the end of primary school. A spokesperson for Public Health England described the figures as “concerning.”

The figures were obtained as part of research to gauge the impact of physical activity on emotional wellbeing in children. The study was undertaken by PHE in association with Disney. As part of the survey, more than 1,000 children and their parents were questioned about their activity levels and the effects exercise has on their happiness. The children were aged between 5 and 11. More than 70 percent of parents admitted that exercise made their children happier, more confident and more sociable. As activity levels declined, children were also less likely to be happy. Sixty-four percent of 5 years olds said that they were ‘always happy’ compared to just 48 percent of 11 year olds.

Eustace de Sousa, from PHE, said that levels of inactivity among children in England are alarming, especially as rates of childhood obesity are so high and the positive effects of exercise on both physical and mental health are so well-documented. Being active makes children healthier, but most children are still not doing nearly enough exercise. An NHS report stated that many children are put off doing exercise because they’re not naturally talented.

The NHS has joined forces with Disney and Sport England to launch the 10 Minute Shake Ups programme, which is designed to encourage kids to spend just 10 minutes being active and having fun. They can do a series of activities throughout the day and have fun while they’re working out. The activities are accessible to everyone, and the scheme has been backed by Olympians, including swimmer, Kerri-Anne Payne.

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